At the beginning of the week, Heiko Maas made a statement that is unquestionably correct: "Something like that does not make a good impression," the Foreign Minister stated, "neither inside nor outside Germany." The proposal of the CDU leader and defense minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer for a security zone in northern Syria, protected by a UN force, has long since failed in the matter of reality - that's why it can not really work. Meanwhile, the dispute over who is damaging German foreign policy is persistent. Unfortunately, the effect is that the damage only increases. It is not completely unimportant who started. But more important is who can finally finish the Zoff.

Because somehow both sides are right. Maas, when he criticized that Kramp-Karrenbauer's initiative was "not within the federal government or within the Union" voted: The Minister learned about the idea by SMS, just before it was set in the world - how should he credibly represent German foreign policy, if their basis within the coalition suddenly lies in splinters? How to behave in a plan that is inconceivable without being able to rely on a clear line of government? In fact, this weakens his ability to act, Maas is just there, both inside and out. That it could come to that, says something basically about his standing, it will not be better.

Those who accuse the Foreign Minister of not having presented themselves with a good picture are also right. Namely as Maas in Ankara at a joint press conference with the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu the dispute again put on display. It was barely talked about, "for things that are more theoretical at the moment, we did not have the time, because people in Syria lack the time for theoretical debates," said Maas, and also: "Everywhere we are told, that was not a realistic proposal. " To show Kramp-Karrenbauer's initiative in such a nasty way abroad, especially in Turkey, was a serious mistake. Even if that's all right. In the Bundestag said the foreign minister on Wednesday, he could "however difficult foreign policy thrusts abroad completely uncommented". But, even that would have been possible, diplomats should be able to get wordy.

The Chancellor does not get the dispute under control

Of course it can be exaggerated with the criticism, such as FDP parliamentary vice Alexander Graf Lambsdorff compared to the image newspaper: "Rarely had one for a minister so ashamed" - that is Maas and the situation does not do justice. The FDP wants to deny its official conduct even by a resolution of the Bundestag and urge it, in the future "to impose the diplomatic moderation, which requires this responsible office". Yes, he should. But if the FDP application on Maas judges, he pity "the reputation of the Federal Republic of Germany," the completeness has to be completed: He is not the only one, and he did not start all this.

To ask Maas now, he should, "instead of rubbing against his cabinet colleague", their proposal "finally offensive record and to advocate in international bodies," as the foreign policy spokesman for the Union faction, Jürgen Hardt, also goes past the thing , So has the Minister of Defense recently set the objectives of German foreign policy? This is still largely the exclusive competence of the Chancellor, possibly with the consent of the Bundestag (which would apply in this case for a possible use of the Bundeswehr, but also not yet pending).

In any case, Angela Merkel has expressed herself in a terribly ambivalent way: A promising idea that it would be worthwhile to try to "see how things can be done there," she said in a group meeting, must be discussed in the coalition. Officially, it is said this week, the formation of opinion within the government for a common line run. Obviously, it is difficult to make a clear decision: We give up the idea, because it is utopian (just as legitimate: because it has too little domestic support, otherwise the Groko flies around our ears) - or: This is our plan These are our interests, so we want to realize them, we are ready to do that. And Merkel apparently lacks the leadership to accelerate this process. Not only in their own country, but also for the world out there, which expects Germany to become more involved internationally, this is becoming increasingly irritating.